Sunday, March 04, 2007

The smooth and potholed spiritual road

Warning: Very very long post

Sometime back during a conversation between me and my colleague, it came out that he was a rabid Atheist. And like most Atheists this gentleman too tried to bait me, a believer into an argument about the existence of an entity called, God. This gentleman lets call him SJ, felt that even without following a religion he was a good human being as any other religious person. He really didn’t need to go to Church or bow and scrape his knees on the Church floor to be a good human being. I asked him how he had become in his own words a “reasonably good human” being. He told me that he did what he thought was right, followed his conscience and was reasonably nice to people. I then asked him how he had learnt to judge what was right and wrong. He was a bit taken aback and gave me a reasonably unconvincing answer. I then pointed out to him that it was his God fearing parents who had influenced him the most during his growing up years and it was their beliefs that shaped him to be what he is today. He had imbibed the values of Christianity and after a point like a child who is on walker, discarded the walker and begun to walk alone. I thought he would slap me from the expression on his face.

This post is not about how corrupt religion has become or about the evils perpetrated in the name of religion. This post is about a great way of life called Christianity that now lies in the hands of nincompoops. Today, Christianity is a great learning ground for a child. We grow up learning that God loves the poor and meek. We are told to help the needy and sick and the downtrodden and we learn that it is our duty to help others in distress. Our simple questions are answered eloquently if we are lucky, by people like Sr. Mary.

Then comes adolescence and suddenly there is no one to guide us or answer the complex questions that is aroused in the mind of the young adult by the very teachings of Christianity. The usual clich├ęd answers by incompetent spiritual leaders and teachers lead to disillusionment and finally for some a fall away from the Church. You cannot teach people to think independently and then bullshit them. And herein lies a vacuum that the Church should seriously look into. The challenge lies in addressing this generation that the Church had nurtured at a young age. There is no one to take on the mantle from the primary and secondary Catechism teachers. Kids are left in a limbo.

Another area the Church has to change in is the attitude of Priest that they are owners of the Church. They preach from the pulpit that “you dear people are the Church, not this building” but advise them on matters regarding the Church and they brush you aside. Recently I attended a more than jam packed Sunday Mass at one of the overflowing Churches in Bangalore. After the mass I asked the Parish priest why he wasn’t increasing the frequency of Sunday Masses like other Churches and his flippant answer was that the faithful should not mind the minor discomforts of a crowded Church. I wanted to do some really unchristian things to him right then.

The Church should be made a community property and not a place where you come as a infrequent visitor on Sundays. When you give the onus of the Church in the hands of a few people, then you have to ensure that these people are squeaky clean or else as representatives of the Church a single wrong move by them can jeopardize the Church itself.

A vast majority of people like me still follow the religion ignoring the nincompoops that our religious leaders are, because we realize that we are what we are to a great extent due to our religion and ironically this religion has also enlightened us to recognize the nincompoops and ignore them.

I now practice my religion on my own volition and not because I am born to Christian parents. Which I think what Christianity is all about. It is not about the word ‘Christian’ in the religion column of a Passport form. Of course I will slap you back if you slap me…I won’t turn the other cheek which is why I am still Silverine and not St Silverine. But I also believe that had I been born a non Christian I would have eventually converted to Christianity at some point in my life.

This post is not about the merits of demerits of Christianity or other religions and so comments on the same are not welcome. This is just a dispassionate look at the state of the Church today.

Thank you Mind Curry for finally prodding me to right about something I wanted to write for a long time with your excellent post.

And apologies if I sound preachy, feel free to throw eggs on the monitor and yes, some green chillies too and ...guess you all know the drill by now :p

30 comments:

Sachin R K said...

"I don't have the evidence to prove that God doesn't exist, but I so strongly suspect he doesn't that I don't want to waste my time." - Isaac Asimov

I dont want to go into the merits / demerits of various religions ( esp after your thinly veiled warning about the same :P ). Just to pick up from your talk with SJ, its not only religion that teaches us the distinction between right and wrong. eg "Help Others" should be fairly self evident even to those who have not formally studied the Ten Commandments, or any other religion , for that matter.

Neihal said...

Coincidentally I wrote a post on similar topic yesterday, I feel differently or may be not, depends on how you see it, I fail to follow religion the way I see ppl around me doing, but I always maintain I am not an atheist.

As for the responsibility of Church, I ll keep mum, but I'll give my two cents on Hinduism, I have firm belief that if someday we learn to follow religion in its basic sense, we will realise it is far more practical, logical and reasonable than it is made out to be, we need to free religion , one and all, from the clutches of some people who are either too ignorant or too incompetent to represent it.

And I would say I am hindu coz I was born one, its about who I am.

alex said...

Silverine,

:)

You are right.

silverine said...

sachin rk: In SJ's case it indeed was his parents influence that made him what he is :)

neihal:"we need to free religion , one and all, from the clutches of some people who are either too ignorant or too incompetent to represent it" Exactly my point dear :)

Alex: Glad you agree :)

Alexis said...

You cannot teach people to think independently and then bullshit them. That is the important thing. Give facts and information and let each person decide what is best for him/her. This would solve a lot of problems.

...I am still Silverine and not St Silverine. ROFL

Mind Curry said...

awesome!

in the beginning, i felt like the child who threw away the walker and started to walk alone..and i keep wondering if the path i am going is wrong or right..but then, as you rightly said, i have been lucky with parents and upbringing that taught me to differentiate between good and bad..ofcourse nobodys perfect, and i definitely am not.

the church, and religion on the whole, is now a big mess. i have a half written post and its gonna come next on SK.

now practice my religion on my own volition and not because I am born to Christian parents. Which I think what Christianity is all about. It is not about the word ‘Christian’ in the religion column of a Passport form.
that makes a lot of sense and i know what you are talking about..but how many others will take this? especially the older folks?

I won’t turn the other cheek which is why I am still Silverine and not St Silverine
lol...like i said, awesome!!!

religion to me is no better than the politics i see around in india..and i feel strongly about it because religion is supposed to be something very close to your heart. and they are manipulating people based on that..anyway..

Mind Curry said...

oh..by the way..

Amen!!

:)

mathew said...

The conversation you had with this chap in some ways reminds me of my conversations’ I have with mother. I recently had a similar talk with a friend too.

By the way most atheists are people who badly want to believe there is god. They are people who are not disillusioned with faith but how the faith keepers themselves seems to be the proverbial wolf in sheep’s clothing. No one is born a atheist and it often happens that as a being grows old and sees that people fight in the name of religion and causes bloodshed and destruction in the world ...when religion becomes another political tool…..then he or she starts thinking wouldn’t the world have been a better place without religion. Unfortunate that religion which is supposed to be our conscience keeper and moral force is contorted to a weapon of warfare...It is so easy to lose faith in such a dilemma...

Very much agree that religion definitely influenced us in the growing up phase and we have definite viewpoints and ideas which are more or less influenced by the teachings. But after sometime we do really asks ourselves and question our own faith. .It is a natural process of seeking the truth you badly want to know. Our spiritual journey gives us more questions than answers. And finally when we go 6 feet under all that matters is how much goodness you had and how much good you did for people around you. Who cares where you gonna go after that!!!And I believe in God because I badly want the world to be a better place…

shruti said...

lovely post .. expecially the part tht says u would have turned to christanity whether u were born a christian or not ..and why I say so is because GOd or any faith one choses to belive in should come from within and that comes only when u have experienced life... I have seen a change in me over time ..and today my faith in whatever I believe in is far stronger because I chose that path myself ..after falling ..or goin in the wrong direction or making a 1000 mistakes ..and it will stay with me forever ..
about religions I cant comment because one has to seriously follow them to understand them and as such the religious leaders are not much help ..with there human fallacies they have tainted the purity of religion itself ...but I try to read and feel and learn ..since I was in a convent we did read a bit on christanity and what I like about christanity is the good values that the child imbibes right in the childhood through proper teachings and teachers whom you cna turn to for solace.

Jiby said...

very good post...u addressed the vacuum in the church for youngsters after they finish schooling...i have been thru that. in the us there are chapels attached to most universities and the Church makes sure that their best priests are sent here....u shud hear these men talk, the sunday's there was an amazing spiritual experience.

one suggestion i wud make for india is having seperate sunday masses for the youth bcoz they want to hear entirely different stuff from what the priests talk about to their primary audience...older people.

Jiby said...

hey anjali, i left a comment before...did it come thru? i lost my internet connection just as i submitted it...but when i refreshed the page...it said comment saved...so lemme know if it hasnt come thru.

Fleiger said...

Aah.. these are the posts which really put the "think" in Thinkpad ;)

Anyways, I have heard some interesting explanations for the question you asked... and to me they felt satisfactory (at least as much as God).

We call it God, conscious, nature, Higher Power, Science, Pink Unicorn... anything. It is very hard to find a person who does not believe in any of these things.

And let me state once and for all that I like my monitor, and omlette is not something I would want to waste either ;)

ToOothlEss WOndeR! said...

I'm not an atheist - in fact I am a strong believer, but I unbelong. Because as much as I believe that faith is a healer, I think religion is the desease.
"He told me that he did what he thought was right, followed his conscience and was reasonably nice to people. "
That happens to be the only princple that I have held tight to all these years, and know for a fact that I will, for the rest of my life.
My rights are my own, and my wrongs are to be judged in this life, and no other. I try to give or take no pain. And i live my heaven on this earth right here.
I talk to my God.

(Those are my views and absolutely no offense given. Peace.)

TheDawg said...

I do not know about atheists , but i would like to think where the sense of right and wrong came from , before there was religion. There must have been some such time if evolution is to be believed. Is it something innate in everyone ? Then why do we need a religion to carry it on ?

I am not an Atheist. But i dont consider myself to be a true practitioner of my religion . God never got the mandatory 5 times a day prayer from me. But he got a lot of pleas for help , arguments, threats and informal [seriously =)) ] prayers. I think he is satisfied with the fact that i am communicating with him and is generally in the path he has shown. I do not deny the presence of God. But i wont try and correct people who think otherwise.

My parents never tried to teach me much about religion except that there is a God who sees everything and he is not to be feared, but loved. Thats all. The rest even about my own religion is 'self taught' .Books were around on the three major religions and no one forced me to read anything particular. ( Of course i was taken to the mosque on special days , but thats all ).

People should have a clear idea about what is right and what is wrong. If it is religion that teaches them that , then let them choose which one they want to practice.

Anonymous said...

religion teaches us to believe in a divine power and that divine power becomes a source of our comfort many a times in life.even if u r an athiest u need an anchor in life and humans around may not always be that strong!!!

religion is just an institution to express such a belief..i wonder how and when did so many religions come into this world and more so ,when and how did these religions become so strong as to stand aginst each other..isnt it strange to see that when all religions preach the same, its followers fight to practice the same..

Anonymous said...

A jesuit at my door 10 mins back...

"There are many religions and many people follow them, but the question is, which religion is the true religion that leads us to God." I closed the door very fast.

It's funny how he himself was holding a booklet about a division within Christianity, but spoke of the one religion that takes you to God.

If he means to say that Gandhi, for not being Christian, would have not gone to heaven and Hitler(I assume he is Christian, pls correct me) for being Christian would have gone to heaven, then I have a big problem with it.

Religion may be one reason behind our character, but I think, a lot more has to do with the people we meet, the kind of environment we are surrounded by, and all. Knowing right and wrong is not hard. But it can be different from one person to another, depending on their situation. It doesn't take religion to say stealing is wrong and we must be charitable to those less fortunate. It is just a huge foundation for these ideas to go to a bigger audience from a smaller authority. It brings large scale social and personal conditioning. It doesn't necessarily always bring the good in people.

-kajan

abhishek said...

"He had imbibed the values of Christianity and after a point like a child who is on walker, discarded the walker and begun to walk alone. I thought he would slap me from the expression on his face."

Wow, that has to be the most eloquent repudiation of an ego I've ever heard.

All religion on the surface seem to preach the "right" way to life, but acknowledge that their roots are universal and they can fold in as many beliefs as possible. For example, Hinduism is polytheistic to begin with, so it's not very hard to presume from a philosophical point of view, which as far as I'm concerned is the only substantive part of a religion, that Christians and Muslims are also Hindus. Likewise, the word "Catholic" means universal in English for the very reason that in Christianity, everyone is part of God's flock.

To seek the truth through any of these religions you have to cast aside the bickerings over so and so figure's meaning and status in the world, because religion is beyond any one person, whether he be Buddha, Christ, Mohammad or Sree Narayana Guru. These individuals are guides to the truth.

It is us who have failed their teachings, and not their teachings that have failed us. And yet, we continue to act like children, arguing over whose teachings are most important because while we seem to have understood the nature of discerning truth from lies, we haven't yet figured out how to deal with it. And those of us who have grown up are constantly emasculated by the trivial pursuits of these children. We should raise our expectations.

Jithesh said...

Religions help in giving guidance as to how to lead a life worth living. They give instructions on how we should relate to one another and why. The catechism classes which most of us (Christians) would have attended and the biblical stories narrated to us by our parents/grandparents were supposed to initiate us into the Christian way of life. This is an opportunity for us to become a Christian by choice rather than only by birth. So as an adolescent, if we become a prodigal son/daughter, it reflects the choice we have made.



Your observation about the clergy seems to be a bit generalized. It's true that there are many priests who attach more importance to the bricks and stones rather than the community itself. But to generalize that would be a bit unfair. Because my personal experience is that for every priest who belong to the above said category, there are nine others who hold the community over everything else. I also feel that it is the clergy that holds the Christian community together. And in this context I completely agree with your observation that their conduct should be beyond doubt.



Another point where I couldn't strike a tangent with your view is regarding the "turn-the-other-cheek" lesson. I consider it as one of the master lessons taught by Christ. And it is all the more relevant for the present world which is ridden with enmity and hatred. This is also a verse which touched Mahatma Gandhi's and he drew a corollary by saying "An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind". (BTW, this paragraph may please be ignored if you had made that statement in a lighter vein :-))
Waiting to see more such "thought provoking" posts from you...

TwoJoy said...

Interesting blog..and it makes me put my two cents in here (maybe off track a bit) in defense of atheism..

The point where religion fails is when it becomes ritualistic. All religions ultimately preach the same basic thing that there is a power beyond you (if you believe) that makes you humble, respect your fellow beings and give meaning to life. Everything else about religion is just manipulations and adulteration of this basic idea. But time has shown that as simple as an idea as it may seem it ultimately has to take the garb of rituals to be comprehensible to common man who seem entirely incapable of sticking to this basic idea. For him, this cannot be true unless he lays down certain rules. These rules becomes the religion that he follows. Whereas the idea gave rise to religion, the religion obscures the idea.
So as a result we have Christians, Muslims, Hindus etc. And each of them profess their own rules and are ready to decimate the others, nothwithstanding the fact that this violates the basic idea.
In fact, being an atheist in such a scenario is probably the most authentic. Because being one, you free yourselves from the obscuring rules and concentrate on the core meaning. By negating the existence of the ultimate power, you could thereby test the power itself and this might lead to a path of discovery.
But then, such a venture is not for the common man who lives by rules and is enslaved by them. They are safe within the confines of their religion that though gives them shelther from spiritual anarchy takes them further away from what the religion ultimately stands for.

silverine said...

Thank you everybody for your valuable inputs. This has been one amazing discussion. Please keep commenting if you want as so many people are following this post's comment section. I cannot reply to all the comments as it would take me a lot of mulling over each comment to reply to each comment. But I think a reply from me is not necessary as everybody got to have their say and hear what others had to say. A big THANK YOU to all of you *hugs*

G said...

Each to his own is what I say!

I am an aetheist but respect what other people believe in. If I come to your house during Diwali I will do what you ask me to. Ditto with Christmas and Ramzan and Eid. And Baisakhi. And Navroze. And any other festival of any religous significance I have missed!

R-E-S-P-E-C-T!

flaashgordon said...

First of all great post and even better discussion here at the comments section..
Not too many people actually "dare to think" beyond the ideas of god and religion which if u r spoonfed with. Any such attempt to question or examine your belief is usuall met with a wag of the finger and threats of grave consequences.

If you are one of the few who have attampted to explain ur beliefs with logic would urself short of answer to the question why there should be a supreme being. if there's one , who created him?Guess I have found myself drifting towards agnosticism lately ;-) ...But then what is God- noway he is a lovin father , noway is he some king with human emotions of gettin pleased or pissed off with.

I'd say all god is..IS HOPE.Hope of passing that exam, hope of doing well at the job, hope that ur family is happy and healthy, hope that makes the world go around :-)God is Hope and God is your conscience (if u have one)which prevents u from doing a crime. Thats all !!
On the walker example ,well even if the person had been born to atheistic but righteous parents - he will still have his conscience. Moreover, if walker is euphemism for religion i'd say the person is walking without the walker bcoz he doesnt need one at that age, and its silly to use walkers at that age. And its funny to see people fighting about which walker is better when dont need a walker at all.

Then again there are some rare clergy who display rational thinking- i rembr dad tellin abt a conversation with a bishop - he said "Religion is absolutely necessary for humanity....coz u cant put a policeman behind every man" :-))

Jay Sun said...

Happy Woman's Day :)

Have a great year !

Jeseem said...

wrote a big comment and then saw this
>This post is not about the merits of demerits of Christianity or other religions and so comments on the same are not welcome.

gosh i had to delete all my comments.

Well, church is an institution run today not by any divine intervention but by people, people with their desires, egos and faults. so don't expect it to be perfect.

a very emotional and compassionate post, miss silverline, so won't put an opposing comment.
and please become St.Silverline soon. Then I will come with tomatoes, rotten egg and baseball bat to give u a good beating.

Praveen said...

great post! havent been to church much to agree or disagree with you!i can say that it was pretty informative without sounding "preachy", so i havent done the "drill" for this one :)

Ganja Turtle said...

That was a smashing post!

Was disc with a fellow Catholic at office abt whats going wrong with the church today and we came up with almost similar answers...

The fact that a whole lot of people have come to see sunday mass as a weekly social ritual...dress up, go to mass, chat with aunts/uncles after mass, have appams on the way back and there you are-done with our weekly dose of christianity! Of course, the rosaries and the "our fathers" said at desperate times really helps!

As compared to this, I attended a very small prayer meeting conducted by a couple of my brothers' friends...they are baptists and they have organized a small group...lets call it the youth mission...a group meets twice a week...3 young men, hardly 23-24 years old, read from the bible, ask the audience what they think of these readings...ask them what problems they face in life...the audience(consisting of say 18-24 year olds) actually share totally difft issues...unemployment, getting attracted towards smut, violence as an end all solution for a lot of their domestic problems...and these three guys take up one of these and discuss it thread bare...for example, last time the disc was around porn and how a lot of young men get addicted to it...with some beautiful passages from the bible, these young guys swept the floor...one of them explained how this is not just a rs.10 movie ticket or a physical need that one satisfies -this desire probably strikes at the heart of what believes and holds to be true...he projected this as part of an eternal battle that the mind rages between good and evil...i couldnt quite closely follow the tamil, but the english phrase went something like "this is not just an ordinary choice to see or not to see, this is a battle of principalities...and all this happens within you is a part of a bigger struggle between good and evil,right and wrong-which side will win within you?" and believe me, instead of getting bored every kid was like seriously listening...and it ended with the preacher saying that one when goes forward to face the evils of the world, one needs the armour of god and he quoted again a few of the psalms that can possibly help inspire oneself...Instead of "i,the holy priest" will guide "ye, the sinners", this entire episode was so interactive and totally put everyone at ease...and so relevant to the typical issues tha these youth faced...at a similar level, there are hundreds of small churches croppng up all over the world that can address people at a more intimate grassroots level than spewing empty distant philosophy from the puplit. The Church seems to imgaine itself as some divine central govt that all loyal subjects follow without question...sheesh!

To quote an example, the Catholic Church asks us to pray to saints...how relevant are these saints to contemporary Christianity? Why should one pray to them and not to God? In ancient times, when more basic minds could not comprehend the omnipresence and omnopotence of the infinite nature of God, one needed more real people who through their deeds would represent the spirit of God...but going forward, if one has evolved to the stage of understanding that God is not a finite concept, why should one pray to a dead man or a woman(possibly very good man/woman)...actually all these were raised by my bro in a disc with mom and me...and we strangely had no answers except to say that it sounded almost blasphemous...the one decent counter-argument was that saints like augustine and francis of assisi in their search for god have endured much of what any man goes through while searching for god and therefore, one could study their lives and writings to understand and possibly draw parallels and learn...however does that in any way becomes a justification to pray to the saints or ask them "to intercede" to God for us? Another outdated concept is about the Church being against abortion even in the most extreme of cases like rape.
Hello!!?!? Somebody get real out there...we are not in a monarchy where everything is decreed and followed without question, without logical basis!

I agree with you perfectly on the moral void after the primary/secondary school...at such a critical phase when ones hormones are raging and every one wants to have a go at everything, what is the solution that a typical Catholic church has? All night candle lit retreats by stodgy adults who read out quotes from the bible and leave it at that...whos going to explain why and how these are relevant? who is going to explain the logical consequences of sin on ones moral foundation? Who is going to explain the very basic question of "Why one should believe in God?" And the all-important "How?-Not just by chanting a litany and probably going for sunday mass!"

And the priests...some of them are really good - the Parish priest at the Infant Jesus church @ cochin takes time out to organize weekly "Holy Family" gatherings where families meet to discuss christanity and allied subjects(I dont knw how well they work,though!)...I have known similar good priests who in the heart of rural Tamil Nadu are working wonders, by educating hundreds of villages, helping villagers set up agricultural socities -"living Christianity" as you would say......but all this is being done at their own initiative and not initiated by the church... How can an unmarried man lecture couples on marital harmony unless he is specifically trained to do so? The pre-marital counselling at the Church is so archaic that one wonders how it is still being tolerated by any educated person! What is the institution of the church doing to encourage grassroot activities by priets and discourage this removedness from the masses, this "holier than thou" attitude?

My brother(sorry to bring him in again ;-) talks about how some of the magnificent churches of France have become museums...and the priests have become mere caretakers of ancient monuments...while the young and the hungry seek out smaller spiritual gatherings which are more willing to openly discuss issues like premarital sex, how one should view the bible-as a 2000 year old book, a testimony or a living guide etc etc...

That was lovely...what you said about "Christianity being a way of life"...by all means, it is...buts its sad that the Catholic church fails to recognize this and still insists on following a spiritual structure akin a feudal hierarchy...as hundreds of smaller spiritual institutions mushroom all over the place and take charge...heres to praying that the Catholic faith wakes up faster...lets hope that we start the reformation sooner than we are forced to-Amen! ;-)

silverine said...

That was a smashing comment!!!

You have expanded my bullet points post so well.

"How can an unmarried man lecture couples on marital harmony unless he is specifically trained to do so?

*ouch* you just touched a very raw nerve, something that I have been planning to write on for sometime. See my post "The Enigma" Sonia is a 'product' of this menace in the Church!!! grr I am so mad!

Thanks for this great comment !

Puchu said...

As usual a very thought provoking post. And the comments section was awesome. You definitely do have quite a few "thinking" readers.

However, I would like to take a slightly different view. And this thought process has been a triggered of by some pretty interesting articles that I happened to read recently.

Yes, religion takes the pains to teach us the basics of understanding what is good and what is bad. Religion(in some cases), tells us what should be done, and what should not be done. But is that it ? May be there is more to religion than something as small as that. These can be sorted out by mere mortals. Religion probably has a much larger role to play than just that.

Man, today is what he is, thanks to evolution. And evolution as a process has not yet stopped. We probably are in the process of evolving into something even better. This could have been something that was probably understood by some of our smart "thinking" ancestors. And they probably came up with religions to help us evolve faster into what we will finally become. And to be able to "think", understand, and evolve are the basic tenets of religion.

Yes, many a times its the so called "gaurdians" of our religion, who trample these very basic doctrines. But then, thats the wonderful thing called religion(if u had paid attention), it has already taught you to question things.

So, now I view religion as a tool that elicits the process of thought, understanding and thereby evolution. Check an earlier post that I had recently written - "Doing good may not be enough".

Karthik Sivaramakrishnan said...

When Silverine says , "I'm a believer", I'm not sure if that means in 'God' or in 'Christianity'. If it means 'God', I'm actually surprised by the comments section, because nobody has extended any of the more serious rational arguments which would briefly be one of the following:
Thomas Aquinas' 'proofs' or the First Cause argument
The ontological argument and other
a priori arguments
The argument from beauty or the teleological argument
The argument from personal 'experience'
The argument from scripture
The argument from admired religious scientists
Pascal's Wager
Bayesian arguments


If, on the other hand, Silverine is referring to belief in Christianity as a sytem of values, then what I have to say is entirely different. Since there has been no serious argument for the existence of god, I shall only take up the latter case. If I had to pick a religion out of the major religions, to cajole people into believing, I would pick Christianity. However, to me, the question is not one of picking and choosing, it is one of truth and untruth. Besides, no one system of values is complete or completely correct. Give any religion's holy book, and I shall pick flaws in it. Moreover, there are other greater issues. How many people who believe in say Christianity, Hinduism or Islam have actually read the holy book page by page and scrutinised and digested it for themselves? Very few I'm sure. The problem is, the average person does not even know what his religion preaches and follows it in a very wishy-washy way, mostly based on hearsay from higher authorities, be they parents, teachers or various religious heads. And this formation of intermediaries is a source of great problem. The situation is much akin to that game where a sentence is said by one person and is whispered in a 100 ears, and by the time it comes out, the sentence is completely warped.

I am an atheist for most people(by that I mean, I'm an agnostic only in the sense that I cannot, using 'pure logic', prove mathematically, with certainity, the existence of God, and this is only for people who fully understand in what sense i'm agnostic. I am not, as it were, 50-50 on the issue. The probability of God's existence is infinitesimally small). But I understand why the 'god' idea is so widespread, and why most people believe in it. At the grave risk of sounding arrogant, I have to say, it is because the average human being is fundamentally weak mentally. And so, he/she needs something/someone to fall back on, which is why a god is useful. The average human being (now I'm doomed) is also stupid. As a consequence, he doesn't take the time out to do the really imporant thing in life, which is to examine the prejudices imbibed as a child, when one has grown up, throw out the false and untrue practices, AND, most importantly(and this is where her friend probably failed, which is why the stupefied silence from him), replace it with a completely rational system of morals and ethics. Now, I believe in doing this, and I have done it, but I know most people can't and won't. That is why religion is essential for the world. But, I believe many of the people who read this post, are capable of doing that bit of examination and coming up with their own system of values, which is why I do not wish them to add to the numbers of the 'believers'.

Leo Mavely said...

Good post. Can relate to almost all thought process of the author. However few observations:

1) Am not sure if early 'conditioning' is actually doing good or bad to kids who later grow up confused and rebellious

2) Teachings of Christ denotes the love for poor and weak. Teachings of christianity were not really so humane until last century. It was mostly propaganda for power like any other religion. So christ and christianity cant be considered hand in hand IMO

3) Christ the only saviour is the arguement that confuses me the most. yea, I do understand christianity as a religion has mellowed down quite alot now and is very tolerant, inclusive. But it is nothing but a lesser evil or a necessary evil. Nothing more.

ive tried here to explain, why I dont practice religion anymore and have quit believing in god for timebeing, turning agnostic.

http://startonomics.blogspot.com/2009/08/my-tryst-with-faith-part-two.html